1. Sellers crush it. 

It’s closer to 15% that actually achieve quota. So they enjoy saying they “crush it.” It’s the exception, not the rule.

2. Managers can sell. Sellers can manage. 

Actually, the skill sets are typically mutually exclusive. Eagle reps seldom ever become effective leaders of men and women.

3. The phone is dead. 

It’s actually more critical than ever to social selling to combine the phone at every stage of the funnel. Call reluctance is a pandemic. LinkedIn provided an easy button, unintentionally.

4. Personalising your digital outreach works better. 

Ironically, the more you show a prospect you are studying them personally vs. their business, the more you violate the principle of “non-hunger.” It’s like dating, hitting on attractive people doesn’t advance you – it repels.

5. Technology is where the money is. 

It’s actually one of the most speculative industries per VC, Marc Andreessen. There are many more profitable sectors than the entire tech industry. Will it’s day come in our lifetimes? It remains to be seen.

6. When companies raise a ton of money, they’re doing well. 

Actually, it’s usually because they’re burning through cash at an alarming rate ($2M+ per month) and are simply trying to keep the lights on – often diluting themselves. It’s also a big sign they haven’t figured-out product / market fit and are treading water to find a hockey stick in the dark.

7. A company hires sellers because it’s doing well and expanding. 

It’s typically actually because revenue is down, sales staff churn is up, the culture is “Lord of the Flies”, bad management has eroded moral, the CEO has stepped in to destroy the sales strategy through micro-management, or the worst offender: they need a miracle from field sellers – aka guys or gals in suits – to save the company from mortal peril.

8. If you call 100 people, you’ll connect with many. 

Truthfully, it’s about 2 or 3 in 100. This is why you have to do combinations in short bursts of SHORT! voicemails, SMS, emails and social touches to stand out. You dramatically lift the odds of success when you get their mobile phone number… Lusha is a brilliant tool for anyone in sales and there are plugins for LinkedIn and Google.

9. Just get referrals. 

Yes, a referral – aka warm introduction – is the highest probability path to revenue. Newsflash, modern sales organizations are doing Account Based Marketing (ABM) approaches. The majority hunt in NAMED territories so if you don’t breakthrough, you’re dead… cut from the roster.

10. Account Executives shouldn’t do SDR hunting and SDRs shouldn’t do closing. 

Building the ultimate sales machine worked for a brief time in the early 2000’s before every tech company started to do this and it drove CXOs crazy with the lack of continuity from meeting setter to closing salesperson. They won’t bother with being put through the sausage grinder. Do your due diligence on the list, value proposition and Ideal Prospect Profile, and fire away yourself. At the end of the day… and from the beginning of the call… you gotta be able to carry the right conversation. The senior sales person is best equipped to carry the value narrative to the decision-maker and this has gotta happen right from the get-go!

11. Sales automation is a thing. 

It’s primitive folks, it’s not Watson beating Kasparov. If you’re automating your email drip campaigns, you’re going to hit the SPAM folder or asked to be removed. You can’t predict who will buy with algorithms, there is certainly no current technology on Earth that will replace good old fashioned blood, sweat and tiers since 1952… well maybe.

12. Only add who you know on LinkedIn. 

I’ve been getting into furious debates over this one. Read Reid Hoffman’s first book. The power of your LinkedIn network is like a Richter scale. It’s geometrically more powerful at 5,000 than 2,500 connections, not twice as powerful. It’s extremely powerful to cultivate the “Strength of Weak Ties.” Don’t get siloed with who you know, network trade shows, online groups and always be connected around shared interests. Trust me – go do the research.

13. Texting and Facebook render sellers a social pariah. 

Simply not true, you should be exploiting cell phones – texting them directly and connecting with prospects on Facebook and chatting to them whenever possible. Try it!

14. Extroverts win in sales. 

Just because you’re a ‘people person’ doesn’t mean you’ll be great in sales. The bottom of the leader board is filled with ‘professional visitors’ and fluffy narcissists never make it in the board room. Knowledge is power and this is why skeptical, Challenger sales engineers that go into quota carrying new business actually can “crush it.” As the complexity increases, engineers of value are far more effective than warriors of persuasion.

15. LinkedIn is about a personal brand. 

Around 2012. Any serious seller should be on LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Period. End of story. You should be tracking your best prospects and interacting with their content through blended approaches.

16. The greatest trigger event is a funding round. 

Not true, Craig Elis and Tibor Shanto proved the strongest trigger is the job change. In essence, it unlocks about $1M in spending by the average F1000 CIO in the first 90 days – shaking-up the status quo is the mission. You’ve got 4 leads every time one position changes. Look for internal promotions and lateral moves too. Again, LinkedIn is your source of leads!

17. It takes as much effort to close a 6 figure deal as a 7. 

It actually takes more with tire kicker tiny deals trying to POC and do pilots. These folks are incorrigible, you’ll never win. Cut bait and only focus on household names and dream clients you’ll be proud to win.

18. Buyers are 57% through the buying process. 

That’s just lazy-think. Interruption is magical. You’ve got to create desire and uncover latent brain. It’s a great stat for selling a book but Mike Weinberg fully debunked this one.

19. Sellers are making over a million dollars a year. 

Yes under 1% globally do. You could probably find a unicorn if you chased enough rainbows and lost your mind.

20. If you’re missing your quota, it’s 100% your fault. 

Truthfully, many companies have broken cultures, bad management, and products that would never sell in any market. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Do what Lee Bartlett does and vet the companies you work for very hard. Talk to their current and former reps, even interview their current and former clients. Are they a necessity or a “nice to have.”

21. You can multitask. 

You can’t, get off LinkedIn right now and go lock yourself in a room to make 30 calls, vmails, text and emails. Neuroscience 1, You 0. Yes, you! Why are you still reading this… 🙂

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Tony Hughes
Tony Hughes has 35 years of corporate and sales leadership experience having generated record-breaking results as a salesperson, head of sales, and CEO leading the Asia-pacific region for multi-nationals. He is a best-selling author, consultant, trainer and keynote speaker. Tony is Co-founder and Sales Innovation Director at Sales IQ Global. He serves on advisory boards and has been published by The American Management Association. Tony has also taught sales for Sydney University, University of New South Wales, and within the MBA program at the University of Technology, Sydney. He has been ranked #1 sales blogger globally by both Top Sales Magazine and Best Sales Blogger Awards. Tony is ranked a top 3 sales expert and thought leader globally by LinkedIn and the most read person on the topic of B2B selling within their platform. He has more than 500,000 blog followers and has been rated the most influential person in professional selling within Asia-Pacific three years in a row. His first book, The Joshua Principle – Leadership Secrets of Selling, is in its 10th printing and his most recent books, COMBO Prospecting and Tech-Powered Sales are published by HarperCollins Leadership New York. Tony speaks at conferences internationally and his clients are some of the best-known brands in the world including Salesforce, Grant Thornton, SAP, IBM, Flight Centre Travel Group, Adobe, Siemens, Docusign and other market leaders.